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Ten Reasons to Use Play-doh in Speech Therapy

I don't know about you but I know that I am often told 'I wish I could just play with kids all day with games and Play-doh'.  Are you?  When I have explained that Play-doh and games are just tools to keep student's engaged, I have been met with skepticism.  Next time someone asks you how Play-doh helps student's to meet their goals, you can take your pick!

1.  Sensory Input-  Some of our student's need the input from textures and smells to help keep them calm or engaged enough so that they can tap into learning the lesson.  This isn't just for our fidgety students but those that really need the additional sensory feedback. Keeps Hands Busy While You Collect Data from Other Student's in the Group-  That is right!  It gives you a minute to collect the data from one student without three others staring you down or feeling like they are not getting time to independently practice.

3.  Kinesthetic Learners- In 1983, Gardner introduced the idea of multiple learning styles.  One such style are Kinesthetic learning.  Kinesthetic learning takes place when an individual is completing a physical activity while learning.  Using Play-doh to create a letter while practicing that sound or covering a picture while working on that word would be a beneficial activity for our 'body-smart' learners!

4.  Fine Motor Support -  Do you collaborate with Occupational Therapists (OT)?  I have worked with several occupational therapists in the past and we have used Mash and Mark sets to work on fine motor skills while practicing speech and language skills too!  Working on fine motor skills increases the dexterity and muscle tone needed in hands and fingers (needed for writing and pre-writing skills such as cutting and holding a pencil).  Another way to use Play-doh as a collaborative effort with the OT is to place little figurines in balls of Play-doh so that student's have to dig it out.  Once they do, they practice their speech skill (or language skill) at their level.

5. Can Help Address Social and Emotional Development-  I have found many times that when I get a new little friend, they are sometimes too scared or nervous to start working with someone new.  It can be a moment filled with anxiety for little ones who do not spend much time away from their parents.  Using Play-doh can help calm them and get them to open up and share their thoughts or feelings about coming to speech.

6. Provides Opportunities to Work on Social Skills-  If student's see you pull out the dough and begin to build something, they will usually begin asking questions (i.e. 'What are you building?' 'Can I have some Play-doh too?', etc..)  You can even split the Play-doh colors (or the tools such as stamps, dough scissors, etc..) between two or more students and remind them to use their manners and you will often see them begin to play and engage more with each other asking to borrow certain colors or tools or asking what the other is creating.   I also use my Map, Mash, and Mark Conversational Sets to work on keeping track of if they asked, answered, or commented to keep conversations going!

7- Turn Any Activity into a Mixed Group Activity-  It is true!  You may have one student working on language, another with fluency, and the third with articulation.  The student with the language goal might create something with their dough (imaginary or real) and then have to provide description, function, or talk about it like they were trying to sell it (or maybe just telling you how to create it).  The fluency student could be using their strategy while asking the language student a question about their creation  and then demonstrating with the dough if they thought their speech was bumpy or smooth.  Or you could have the fluency student practice using their strategies while completing the same task as the language student.  What about the student addressing articulation?  Simple!  If they are practicing their sound at spontaneous speech level (they could be doing the same task as the language student) or if they are at the word level, they can listen to their peers to see if they use their sound at their position and practice tearing off little pieces of the Play-doh from the ball they had each time they practice saying that word.
8- Visual Supports-  I love using dough for visual supports!  That might be because I am also a visual learner but I find that it helps so much for my student's too.    Visually for an articulation student, they can practice creating the letter while they practice words that contain their sound.  Or check out the wonderful blog post by Natalie Snyder about using Play-doh as a visual for /r/ (Link is provided at the bottom of this post).  Student's working on Fluency can use the dough to make bumpy vs smooth roads or the straight snake vs the bumpy snake.

9- Great Tool for Learning-  You can just about find Mash Mats for any needed goal you need to target with students!  Plus, Jennifer Bradley at Speech Therapy Plans has additional excellent ideas of ways that you can use Play-doh as a learning tool!

10-  Plus, its Fun! Even as an adult, I enjoy working with Play-doh! Kids have such great imaginations and can create some wonderful creatures, narratives, and/or turn it into is own instant dramatic play session!  Who feels like buying a Play-doh Burger and Fries combo?

Other blog posts about using Play-doh I would suggest:
5 Ways to Use Play-Doh in Speech Therapy
Another Quick Articulation Tip for the /r/ Sound

Do you love Play-doh as much as I do?  What ways do you use it?

After a long day at work, I was never 'thrilled' to take my daughter grocery shopping.  Mostly, it was because I was just drained and I knew that she was too.  I never knew if we would be 'that family' that had the meltdown in the grocery store (I'm including myself in that meltdown too!)  Grocery shopping became easier when I kept us both engaged in learning and fun!  Here are some tips that you can share with your student's parents that will encourage bringing the kids to the store and building their speech and language while they are there!

1.) Build Vocabulary by Labeling and Describing EVERYTHING!  The grocery store is filled with speech and language opportunities. Parents and students can discuss size, color, function, category, location, etc.. Trying to find a few items in the same category is always fun!

2.) Work on Prepositional Phrases!  Is the item that you are looking for on the top shelf? Between the canned corn and the canned green beans? Is it on the second shelf?

3.) Work on Following Directions!  It can be as simple as 'please grab the big box of Chex' or more complex such as 'After you grab the small box of Chex cereal and put it in the cart, point to the kind of instant oatmeal you would like us to buy this time.'

4.) Work on Taking Turns and Inferencing Skills!  That is right, play good ole' I SPY in the grocery store!  Encourage parents to take turns with their kids in describing an item, its use, where it comes from (tree, cow, etc..), and its appearance while the communication partner guesses!

5.) Work on Pragmatic Skills!  Model and reinforce positive social skills and language to demonstrate good manners.  Practice taking turns asking and answering questions about the environment, what they need to find next, where they might find the item, and using please and thank you when asking the bakery for that free cookie or sample (not all stores offer the cookie but you would be surprised how many do!)

6.) Have a Sound Search Party!  While walking down the aisle, how many items can the student find that has their sound?  Where is the sound located in the word (initial, medial, final position)? Did the student find more or the parent (I always encourage making it into a game)?

I provided my friends that have joined my email list this exclusive freebie that include a starter list or words by sound!

7.) Build Executive Functioning Skills!  Prior to going shopping have parents and students decide on a recipe they want to complete at home and make the shopping list for it or just a shopping list for that week's groceries.  By planning ahead, getting organized, making a list, and developing a plan for where in the store they need to go, student's are building executive functioning skills!

8.)  Expand on these Lessons at Home with the Little Ones!  If they have a play kitchen at home... bonus!  However, these days parent's can get cheap toy food at the local dollar store or at some of the chain stores.  Continuing to practice the above-mentioned tips at home during play will increase speech and language skills too (plus it is a bonus if you just really can't bring yourself to include the kids at the grocery store due to the fear of meltdowns)!

Have you encouraged parent's to build speech and language skills at the grocery store?  There are a million ways (including learning money names, values, and concepts)!  I would love if you would share with my different ways you have helped encourage speech and language growth at the grocery store!

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How often does this happen to you?  You send home practice homework consistently and it doesn't come back? You sit in an IEP meeting and the parent is not sure what their child is working on, or they do know exactly what their child needs to work on but they never saw the homework so they are not sure how to help?  I have sent home interactive homework notebooks and a variety of speech and language crafts with some success.  Usually the students who are motivated to get out of speech are most likely to do it and bring it back.  The rest... well, they just are not there yet.  No matter how we tackle building take-home practice opportunities.  So what do we rush to do when we have the parent that really wants to help their child and maybe their child is just not so motivated?  How can we bridge that gap without making it seem like more work (or a HUGE take-home packet)?

1.  Make it Meaningful and Practical!
Children are more likely to retain (like the rest of us) when it has meaning.  For my students working on following directions, I suggest to the parent that they work on following directions while targeting chores! Ask Johnny to "First unload the plates and cups before putting away the utensils."  Have Johnny work on repeating back the instructions before completing the task.  If Susan is working on /r/ and you need her to clean her room, have her say aloud the words that start with /r/ that she finds in her room as she cleans it! I am a parent so targeting independent skills (such as chores) while targeting speech and language is a WIN-WIN!

2.  Make it Fun.  Go Ahead and PLAY with your Child!
Yes, in therapy, we often play games. I'm not ashamed to admit that I pull out my Open-Ended Games a lot! It is a way to reward good behavior, manage behaviors, and make mixed groups a bit more cohesive.  Game Night with the Family CAN still be enjoyable.  Unfortunately, I find that many kids no longer pull out those game boards at home or even get family game night.  I suggest that parents play when possible. You can still target speech and language skills while playing a board game.  Parents can target the social language aspect ("Can you please hand me a card?" "Oh, it is your turn now!"), receptive and expressive language ("You moved one spot.  You need to move four more spots?" "Who rolled snake eyes?"), articulation (Does the number on the dice or the card they just pulled have their sound?), etc..   If their child is not old enough to play board games, I suggest that parent's get down on the carpet with their child and actually play whatever their child wants to play (coloring pictures, dolls, cars, building blocks).

I sent my friends on my email list a handout that I share with parents about building language at the park while engaging in functional play! I use a lot of familiar language and build onto it by creating opportunities that require children to initiate and/or attempt communication by using expansion and/or having them direct my actions.

3.  Create Opportunities for the Child to be the Teacher.  Be Silly and Be Wrong.  
My students LOVE to catch me in a mistake. It is okay to make mistakes and I want my students to know it is okay to not always have the right answer.  Therefore, I make mistakes a lot (some just plain silly mistakes that are easy to catch too!).  I have found that by allowing myself to make mistakes I am not only modeling for students that mistakes are how we learn but that we can all help each other.  They will quickly tell me what I need to do to fix my error and blossom when they get to be the teacher.  The biggest reason I enjoy making obvious mistakes is really the laughter.  It fills me with joy when I am silly and the students laugh and then correct my error using their speech and language skills.  I love it because it doesn't seem like work to them at that point.  Plus they get pleasure from the silly interaction, demonstrate their skills, and typically smile with pride that they could teach me something.

Do you share these same tips with parents during IEP meetings? What do you usually provide or share with parents looking to help their child?

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Bringing a child into the world is such a blessing.  For me, it was a blessing beyond words since I had been told I would never have a child when I was just 15 years old due to PCOS.  We were beyond excited when we learned that we would be parents but then she sent me to the hospital in premature labor at just 23 weeks gestation. Our journey for the next 5 months would be scary, joyful, frustrating, and miraculous and would ultimately give me a different perspective as a parent to a micro-premie that I believe makes me a better SLP.

I was just a year and a half into my new career path as a Speech-Language Pathologist when we became pregnant. We spent 1 month in the hospital on bedrest in a high-risk maternity ward and then nearly 3 months in the NICU waiting to bring our miracle home.  During our hospital stay, I learned these important lessons.

During our month stuck in the hospital bed, the hospital had to visit me multiple times to share with me the facts of what could go wrong if my baby was delivered at that time.  Now, I am all for being brutally honest and I even understand that the hospital had to give me the facts and make sure I understood.  I even get that they had to have my sign the paper stating they went over the consequences of my medical situation.  However, the constant highlight of all that could be wrong (even when I told them I had been in special education for so many years and knew the statistics) sent me in a spiral of negative which resulted in my emotionally pulling away from the child in womb.  I was so scared of losing her that I found myself falling into a depressive state and detaching emotionally so that any loss that might occur might hurt less (a ridiculous thought from a depressive state). So we need to remember to shine the light of positivity on situations.  Highlight whatever silver lining we can find and celebrate all the accomplishments including the little ones!

I have heard many colleagues complain about the demanding parent.  In fact, prior to my being that parent, I also complained as a Special Education Teacher and later as a Speech-Language Pathologist.  I get it.  Sometimes, those parents make our job more difficult.  Sometimes, our feathers are a little ruffled because we think they do not respect our professional opinion.  Whatever the reason, take a deep breath and remember we are a team with that advocating parent.  They are fighting for the best services for their child.  Sometimes those services are not warranted or appropriate but they do not always know that.  They simply want to make sure we are doing everything we can for their child.  I learned this as a parent that needed to advocate for my own child when the hospital wanted to move her to another hospital but I refused to do so until they had donor milk at the new hospital for her. I know I was a thorn in both hospital's sides because I refused for 2 weeks to move my child until they had the donor milk.  In the end, my refusal resulted in the second hospital getting the donor milk and my child was the first to receive this service at that location and it provided her with important nutrients that I could not provide nor could formula provide for my micro-preemie. 

Parents need to know that we are on the same side as them.  We are truly a TEAM for their child.  It is sometimes difficult to convey this message if/when our parents have been in IEPs that felt anything but supportive in the past and they come into the new IEP on the defensive.  This is when we really need to reach out to them.  I had so many nurses and doctors telling me how great the other hospital facility would be (and it was with more space and less noise) but they kept the pressure on to move my child even when I expressed my concern over and over.  The doctor that brought her into the world ended up being my biggest support an ally.  While everyone else pressured me to move her and let them put her on formula, he shared with me (as a grandparent) that my decision was really the best for her.  He encouraged me to stick to my guns and backed me up against the suggestions of the other hospital staff.  

Every child on my caseload becomes my child too.  I want the best for them.  Therefore, I provide the services that I would want another service provider to provide if it truly was my child. We spent nearly 3 months in the NICU. During that time, my child became eligible for early intervention services and supports and financial assistance for all of her medical care. I knew these services were available due to my years of service in special education.  Not once, were we visited by the case manager to inform us of services that she qualified for or to refer her for these services. In fact, I had to request the information and referrals to be sent to the appropriate services. We need to educate parents on what additional outside services are available or the process to determine eligibility for additional services.

We are use to our jargon.  Unfortunately, sometimes we are unable to avoid using jargon.  When we have to use it, we need to give examples.  For example, when we are discussing with a parent about the different types of stuttering or the techniques to modify stuttering or to shape fluency, we need to give examples. It doesn't do any justice using other words to explain.  If you can give an example or a visual it can help.  As I sat there providing kangaroo care to my child (skin on skin contact), she had many desat episodes due to apnea. All I knew was that bells would ring and her little monitor would go crazy.  Staff had to explain that desat and apneic episodes meant that she stopped breathing and how to read the monitor so that I would not jump every time it rang but when it was important to call out for assistance. 

IEPs can be scary.  What our children are struggling with and our hopes for their future can be scary. Some parents have to go through a grieving process when their expectations for their child's future may not be a reality or they are unsure if it can every be a reality.  I spent 18 hours a day in that NICU holding my child, watching other parents come and go with their babies, and wondering when it would be our turn and what the future may be for her.  Why did other parents get to take their babies home after a day, a week, or a month and I had to sit there day after day waiting for her to be healthy enough to come home?  What would her future look like?  Would she have academic concerns? Would she always have a heart murmur or any heart problems?  I was fortunate enough that the NICU nurses were spectacular.  They listened to my fears.  They cried with me and they gave me encouragement.  We need to do this with our parent's fears too.  We need to listen, be empathetic, and provide support. 

Yes, that includes advocates if parents feel that they need that level of support.  Grandparents, siblings, advocates, prior service providers, etc.. anyone that makes the parent feel supported during the process.  By encouraging and accepting others into the meeting, we are letting the parent know that we really do consider them a part of the IEP TEAM and that we do have their child's best interests at heart.  For my little one to come home she had to be able to take so many meals by bottle within a certain time period.  When the hospital staff sent someone to discuss the matter with me and help me to help her with this task, they sent an Occupational Therapist.  I appreciate my fellow service providers; however, being a SLP I was most comfortable with another SLP who specializes in feeding issues in the NICU.  Therefore, I made a special request for a SLP.  They could have very easily rolled their eyes, gave me a million reasons why the OT was just as capable, and gave me a difficult time about my request.  They didn't. They were supportive so it made me feel empowered and part of my child's team.  

What life experiences do you feel has made you a better SLP?  What lessons did you learn? I would love for you to share your experiences that helped you grow into the therapist that you are today in the comments below. We all grow as a discipline when we actively reach out to educate ourselves and share with others. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on Top 6 tips for a successful year as a CFY Supervisor.  A colleague had asked if I had tips and forms for working with an SLPA.  I have been very fortunate on my path to becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist. After leaving North Carolina (the first time) and my position as a Special Education Teacher, I returned to California and became a Speech-Language Pathologist Aide.  After working as a SLPA for a year, I decided that I wanted to be a SLP and returned to Grad School to do so.  While I was in Grad School I was fortunate to work with and learn from several wonderful SLP's!  Later, I worked with one FANTASTIC SLPA (Yes, Jen, I'm talking about you)! This is what I learned from being on both ends of the continuum.

1.  Open Lines of Communication - Keep the lines of communication open and honest. Share information for the best way to contact each other.  You may need to call your SLPA to let them know the schedule changed at the last minute or that you will need to be at an emergency meeting.  Your SLPA may need to contact you to let you know that they are sick and can not make it. I found the best way is to share phone numbers but I know others who have only shared emails.  I'm not big on checking my email constantly so calls and texts have worked best for me as both the SLP and the SLPA. 

2.  Set Expectations - Expectations create results. When everyone knows what they are expected to complete in the day, week, month, etc.. it makes everything run more smoothly.  Definitely be honest and include the need for flexibility on both your ends.

3. Set Routine - Although flexibility is important so is a set routine.  I always felt better about starting my day or week by knowing that I would be seeing the same adults and students on a specific day of the week. Sure, I knew it might change at any moment but I also knew more times than not it would be the same.  By having the set routine, I was able to establish rapport and build professional relationships with the individuals I provided services to as a SLPA.

4.  Talk About Best Way to Give Feedback- Personally, I prefer immediate feedback but not everyone does. I would definitely have a talk with your SLPA to find out what works best for everyone involved.  If written feedback is the preferred method, be sure to download my forms below.

5.  Treat as a Colleague - You may be the acting supervisor but you are also working as a team to meet the needs of your students (patients, clients, etc..). I found that I worked best with my supervisors that treated me with respect like a colleague instead of just an employee. When you give respect then you get respect. Also, it makes a working relationship that much smoother.

6.  Show Appreciation - This is a must. Sometimes things get so hectic that we run around like crazy and just think about what we need to get done and by when. I know I can't be the only one that gets like that during IEP time, progress report time, and the mad rush when an influx of students all show up right after spring or winter break. It is definitely important to show your appreciation for all the support and assistance that your SLPA provides by being flexible, following the schedule you provided for them, and providing you with valuable data and information about the progress made. I was very fortunate that many of my supervising SLP's were appreciative. However,  I also had one that never showed appreciation and it made me feel not as excited to go to work. I also found that I was most flexible and helpful to those that were respectful and showed appreciation. Appreciation goes a long way.  Remember, without your SLPA, your caseload would be double.

Hope these were helpful tips to you.  Please share any tips you have in the comments below.
Is this your first year being a CFY Supervisor also known as a CFY Mentor? Have you been supporting the future of our field for years in this capacity? I have been very fortunate to support our profession as a Practicum Supervisor for several Undergraduate Student Clinicians and as a CFY Supervisor for new clinicians finding their feet in the field of Speech-Language Pathology.  In an effort to grow professionally and to constantly evolve into a better version of myself personally and professionally, I always wrap the year up asking my clinicians for brutally honest feedback and evaluation of my skills as a Supervising Clinician.  What is it that I did well?  What do they feel I need to improve on?  How best did I help them?  How could I have been a better resource on their professional journey? This is what I learned.

1. Get to Know Your Clinician and Let Your Clinician Know You. When you are just starting out, it is nerve-racking enough! Although we need to maintain professional boundaries, we do not need to make it even worse on them.  Be friendly but set guidelines.  Share bits of your life so that you are personable and so that your clinician feels comfortable asking questions or requesting feedback. Get to know where your clinician is coming from.  What is their background?  Why did they choose this profession? What does their after-hours schedule look like?

2. Ask What Type of Supervisor that they like, are comfortable with, or require.  However, keep in mind what they say they like and are comfortable with may not be what they require.  For example, I had one clinician that told me she liked a relaxed supervisor that wasn't breathing down her neck. What she requested though through her actions and her requirements (i.e. multiple emails, calls for support, and initial need for hands-on support) was that she needed a very structured relationship with hands-on supervision.  Another clinician requested the structured supervision but it was quickly evident that she required just the minimum supervision supports.  It is great to ask though to help you to understand your clinician just a little better.

3. Set Expectations.  Be clear and open with your expectations.  No one wants to guess what might be coming down the line.  If you expect that all MDT or Communication Reports will be sent to you for review until you sign off, then state that.  If you expect that you may request an outside assignment such as creating a simple inservice to share with their school staff in an effort to get a better understanding of staff relations and clinician knowledge in a specific area, give your clinician warning ahead of time.  If you appreciate them asking questions but expect by the second time answering the same question that you would not be as responsive to a third time asking the same question or if you prefer your clinician to do the research themselves. let your clinician know at the start of your work relationship. 

4. Share Knowledge of Materials.  Okay, let me preface this by saying tell them about the materials that help you.  Do you have a favorite Super Duper item that you use again and again?  Are they struggling to keep a group of students engaged in a mixed group and you know of some great TeachersPayTeachers materials that would be helpful?  Tell your clinician where to find the resources and how you use the resources. Do not break copyright. But share knowledge of resources that they may find helpful.  If you happen to make materials yourself (so many of us do, even if we do not all sell them on TeacherspayTeachers), feel free to share any and all of your own materials that you create.  As a new clinician, any materials that you can get your hands on are beneficial and can serve a purpose to help students meet their goals. 

5.  Be Responsive. Of course you can not drop everything to answer every email or phone call within the 3 minutes of contact being initiated.  However, respond as quickly as you can.  Do you remember when you just started and a "tough scenario" popped up and you just were not sure how to continue and only had a few minutes to answer a question or respond to the scenario? I still get sweat chills just recalling (then again, I have anxiety issues).  Reduce the clinician's stress and respond at your earliest convenience.  Sometimes, the response is as simple as reassuring the clinician that their actions reflect what you also would have done.

6.  Learn as Much as You Teach. I strongly believe that we should NEVER stop learning and growing.  When we take on the Supervisor role, we have a great responsibility to share our knowledge and experience.  However, we also have a great responsibility to remain open-minded.  Remember, the new CFY Clinician has had the most up-to-date training on recent evidence based practices.  When we approach clinicians with the understanding that it is a reciprocal relationship and not just a "I'm the Expert and Paid My Dues in the Field" boss-lady, it puts everyone at ease and everyone can walk away with just a little bit more knowledge than when the work relationship began. 

7.  Never Stop Being a Mentor and a Colleague. I can say with a smile that many of my old clinicians are now some of my friends as well as colleagues.  I can also be pleased with the fact that to this day, all of them know that at any time they can contact me to ask a question, get some feedback, or bounce ideas off of me. To this day, several years later, they continue to consider me a resource and a mentor. Likewise, I know that as my colleague, I can now do the same and pick their brain for ideas when I need a new perspective. 

Need some Survival Forms to help you get through the CFY Supervision Year?  I created my own (although, they did not look as pretty as they do now) and will share them with you here.  
Supervising CFY Survival Forms
Do you have tips for successful CFY Supervision? If so, I would love to hear about it! 

Can you guess what I have been doing the past 6 months?  I just completed a HUGE cross country move from Las Vegas, NV to Asheville, NC!  If you are contemplating a big move too let me share some quick tips to make your life easier!

1.  Start Packing in Advance!  Yes, start as early as you can!  This will give you time to get rid of the pack rat stuff that you have not used in years.  Yes, that includes therapy materials that are out of date, not used in a few years, and/or that you have multiple copies of that you do not need.  The less that you have to move with you the better!  Trust me!  I cleaned out my therapy garage (yes, garage because sometimes a closet is just not enough room!) and my home and even though I minimized I see that I really need to reduce even more.  I have been here for about 3 weeks now and I'm no where near unpacked yet!  Do Your Licensure Research!  I have moved to two different states now from where I began in Ca.  Each state requirements are different.  Some states are more difficult to get licensure in than others and some take significantly more time to process than others.  Therefore, start several months in advance if possible. Initially, when I moved to NV, I just had to complete the application, send copies of my ASHA CCC's and CA license, and pay the fee to obtain my NV SLP license (not including the additional teaching license).  This move to NC required me to complete the application, have NV send a license verification form, send University transcripts, take an NC SLP online test, and send in my fee.

To help you do your research, I created a free handout with all the contact information (phone numbers and web addresses) for all of the SLP State Boards here in the United States.

3. Research Job Opportunities in Advance!  There are a lot of jobs out there.  I feel so blessed that we can practically pick up a dart and throw it at a map of the United States and we can just about move anywhere with ASHA CCC's and professional experience.  We have a huge range of job opportunities.  Want to work in the schools?  You can research your new school district or speak with the wide selection of Contract Companies to find out that would be a good fit.  Prefer working with toddlers?  There are a lot of private practice companies, regional centers, and organizations such as Easter Seals that can get you into an Early Intervention setting.  Want to work with adults or geriatric population?  I know that many Skilled Nursing Facilities and Hospitals have difficulty finding the right SLP and/or enough SLPs to cover these setting and populations.  So many possibilities.  Find the one for you!  You can start your search using ASHA Careers or Career Resources by State using

4. Thing Outside the Box! In the past several years a NEW opportunity has made itself available to us.  TELETHERAPY!  I will be the first to admit that I LOVE my job because I get to enjoy the relationship I build in person with my students and clients. I thought that building rapport like that would be difficult via a computer screen between us.  I have spoken with several colleagues in the past year and they have explained and expressed different scenarios where this is simply just not the case. Therefore, I am looking into teletherapy for this school year.  I can continue to do what I love and still be available and home when my little gets home from school or is home ill that day. If you would love to know more about teletpractice ASHA put some information together about it. 

5. Keep Your License at the Prior State Active!  Okay, not everyone will need to keep their old state license.  However, if you may one day return to that state, are considering teletherapy, or are moving away from one of the more difficult states to get your license- Keep it active! Sure, you spend a little extra every year or two to keep it updated and active.  However, if you have to make an immediate exit back to that state (sick family member, financial reasons, etc..), you will be able to pick up right where you left off with getting a job in that state.  It is also helpful if you are deciding to go into teletherapy.  You will need your license in the state you reside and the state you are providing services too.  Therefore, if you maintain your other state license, it will provide you with a larger net of job possibilities. 

Hope these tips and resources help you make a more informed decision about a move.  Now, I have to run off and get back to unpacking.  I can't wait until my house feels like mine and not an empty shell with tons of boxes that require my attention.  

If you have any additional tips or suggestions, please share them in the comments!  

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